By Onke Ngcuka

Oliver Mtukudzi’s legacy continued. 

Music legend Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi’s life was celebrated in song and memorialised in words at a packed service at the Joburg Theatre on Tuesday, February 6.

The service was hosted at the Nelson Mandela Theatre and was attended by family, friends, fans, Mtukudzi’s former band members, and music industry personalities. Among the performers, which included Ringo Madlingozi, Vusi Mahlasela, Judith Sephuma, and Siphokazi, were Mtukudzi’s daughters, Selmor and Sandra.

Tuku’s mentee, Ashton “Mbeu” Nyahora, along with former band members carried the performances as artists came and left the stage.

Among the speakers was Joy of Jazz founder, Peter Tladi, and Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa David Hamadzipiri.

Bishop Paul Verryn of the Methodist Church concluded the speakers’ service by emphasising how Mtukudzi’s music had the power to transcend humanity’s differences.

A member of the organising committee, Roshnie Moonsamy, told Wits Vuvuzela that the event was organised by the Hugh Masekela Foundation, Gallo Record Company, Artist Management Talent, volunteers, JT Communications, and a few other parties.

“We all did it in our own resources, coming together with the help of the Joburg Theatre as well to make this happen. It was a fitting service and I feel very proud of the way that everything went. “And Tuku’s families, his daughters, it was so fantastic to have them, so emotional. And we did it in African style, celebrating him with tears, song and dance,” Moonsamy said.

Mtukudzi’s musical legacy was evident from the service as young and old were on their feet throughout the service.
Mentee Mbeu told Wits Vuvuzela that Mtukudzi was not only a father of the nation, but was also like a father to him.

“[Performing in his memory] meant everything! I wanted to cry because his music reminded me of him. Our relationship was personal…he taught me everything. The greatest thing he taught me was to be original, to be myself, and to bring out the best in me,” the 26-year-old artist said.

“I’m looking forward to carrying his legacy, by being myself and not him,” he added.

Murovhi Maya, a fan of Mtukudzi, told Wits Vuvuzela that being at the memorial was closure for her as she hadn’t come to terms with his death.

“He was someone that I looked up to. I learnt a lot about social justice from him through his music which had an element of Ubuntu. He [sang] about real life events, there was no space to fantasise about things that didn’t exist. In a way, he didn’t sell dreams,” Maya said.

Selmor Mtukudzi concluded the service in tears, bowing, and simply saying, “Thank you, South Africa!”

Mtukudzi died on Wednesday, January 23, in a Harare hospital after a long battle with diabetes. He was 66.

Mtukudzi was buried on Monday, January 28, at his ancestral village Madziwa, Zimbabwe.


FEATURED IMAGE: Tuku’s girls Selmor (left) and Sandra perform at their father’s tribute. Photo: Onke Ngcuka